Councillors who have embarked on a weight loss challenge as part of Wolverhampton's fight against obesity are starting to hit the gym as they begin their battle of the bulge.

Type=image;ImageID=5306;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Councillors Stephen Simkins, Daniel Warren and Paul Sweet;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=5307;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Councillors Stephen Simkins, Daniel Warren and Paul Sweet;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=5308;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Councillors weight loss journey;TitleClass=strong;

With nearly 70% of adults in Wolverhampton either overweight or obese, local councillors Paul Sweet, Stephen Simkins and Daniel Warren have publically pledged to slim down, and are hoping their exploits will inspire others to do the same.

Following an initial healthcheck with health trainers from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust's Healthy Lifestyles Service, they have now joined their local leisure centre - and are set to enjoy regular workouts as they attempt to shed the weight.

Councillor Sweet, who started his challenge weighing 22st 9lbs, said: "Since the initial healthcheck, I've made a concerted effort to eat healthier and do some exercise every day.

"I'm resisting weighing myself until our first official weigh in, but I already feel much livelier and am managing to walk up to 5 miles a day relatively easily. I'm intending to do a minimum of 2 sessions down the gym on top of my daily walks and I will initially focus on the cardio equipment to burn those calories."

Councillor Simkins, who weighs 23st 3lbs and has set himself a target of getting down to around 16 stone, said: "I've been really impressed by the expert advice we've been given so far, not only from the health trainers but also the fitness instructors at Bert Williams Leisure Centre who introduced us to the gym equipment and have identified what sort of workouts we should be doing.

"While I understand that there is no quick solution, I'm looking forward to making real changes to my life."

Councillor Warren, who hopes to lose at least 2 stone from his starting point of 16st 8lbs, said: "I've already made some big changes; I've made a concerted effort to eat more healthily, cutting out chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks, and am doing some exercise every day. I've also swooped full fat milk for goats milk and white bread for brown.

"Following my induction at the leisure centre, I'm planning on visiting at least twice a week, on top of riding my bike and exercising more."

The trio will find out how they have got on so far when they have their first weigh in shortly - and they hope their efforts will encourage other people with weight problems to resolve to do something about it.

With the number of adults in Wolverhampton overweight or obese above the national average, more people in the city are putting themselves at risk of serious medical complications from diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, respiratory problems and liver disease to stress, anxiety, depression and infertility.

Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health Ros Jervis used her 2014 Annual Report as a "call to action" for organisations and businesses to team up and try to tackle the "obesity epidemic". Organisations from across the city will come together to discuss the problem at a major summit about obesity in Wolverhampton in November.

Individuals are being encouraged to do their bit, too. Wolverhampton's Healthy Lifestyles Service can support people to lose weight. Health trainers are on hand to provide people with one to one motivation and support to achieve their goals over 6 individual sessions. Everything is kept confidential and the sessions are free.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Obesity is a ticking time bomb which is having a fundamental impact on people's lives.

"Rates of obesity in Wolverhampton are far too high and I'm very impressed at the public challenge my 3 fellow councillors are taking as they attempt to address their own weight issues."

People can follow the councillors' weight loss journey via Twitter - Type=links;Linkid=4188;Title=slimlinesweet;Target=_blank;, Type=links;Linkid=4189;Title=slim67rocket;Target=_blank; and Type=links;Linkid=4190;Title=dietingdan;Target=_blank;.

For more information about the help available from the Healthy Lifestyles Service, please call 0800 073 4242 or 01902 444246, email or visit the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust website, Type=links;Linkid=4488;Title=Healthy Lifestyles Service;Target=_blank; .

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  • released: Monday 6 October, 2014